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Tech companies and trust – what Americans think
Data protection & privacyBrand trust
Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are among the tech brands least trusted by Americans, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll; Amazon is the only brand to elicit trust from a majority of consumers.
What the poll finds
When asked how much companies/services are trusted to handle their personal information and data on internet activity, 72% did not trust Facebook much/at all (56% also said Facebook has a negative impact on society); sister brands Instagram (60%) and WhatsApp (53%) also featured in the top four behind TikTok (63%).
YouTube (53%) and Google (47%) were followed by Microsoft (42%), then Apple and Amazon (both on 40%).
The flip side is how many people trust these names a great deal/a good amount and the contrast between Meta-owned entities and the others is stark. Twenty percent trust Facebook, even less WhatsApp and Instagram, while Google and YouTube come in at 48% and 35% respectively; Apple is on 44% and Amazon 53%.
A particularly revealing stat is that 72% believe their phones or tech devices are listening to them in ways they didn’t agree to.
Why it matters
There’s a clear divide between less-trusted social media platforms and more-trusted businesses offering real products/services. Consumers are far more aware – and wary – of how the former especially are collecting and using their data, and they’re starting to fight back.
Among the eight in ten internet users who see targeted ads, 82% find them annoying while 74% say they are invasive. Eight in ten have also taken some steps to limit what data can be collected, the most popular being changing privacy settings on websites (57%), deleting web history (56%), altering privacy settings on phones/apps (50%).
It seems that while many Americans don’t trust tech businesses (or the people running them) when it comes to privacy issues, they’re now so accustomed to using their platforms for everything from staying in touch to shopping that they aren’t about to abandon them.